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Making Your Kitchen the Star of Your Home’s High Performance

The season of frenzied cooking and colossal meals is fast approaching - can your kitchen keep up? High performance home design considers the efficiency and functionality of every detail, including the layout and outfitting of the rooms we use most. A well-designed kitchen improves not only the aesthetics of the space, but also its comfort and usability. To everyone who has ever dealt with a sink too small to wash pans in, or had to banish a partner from the room so there would be enough space to open the oven door; we see you, and would never do you dirty like that.

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November 6, 2020

Farm to Table(saw) : Those who build BrightBuilts have many talents - from farming to framing, they do it all!

With the Common Ground Fair going full digital force this weekend, we wanted to introduce you to one of BrightBuilt Home's builders who also just so happens to be an organic farmer! Meet John Roscoe, of Roscoe Builders, who is based in Sullivan, Maine, where he splits his time between construction zones on MDI and the farmstead on the mainland. I mean.... can we have baby goats on ALL of our job sites, please? Check out what John has to say…

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September 25, 2020

The Crew that Sets us up for Success

Meet the owner of Maker Construction, Ryan MacEachern (top photo), and his crew. They're the team of individuals that take a module off of it's flatbed and set it securely on to a foundation. More than that, they are a bit nerdy and they pay attention to the details; they know how important that air barrier is and ensure that the house is fully "buttoned up" at the end of a set day. Their work is a key component in making modular happen; they work swiftly and with ease, but their job of securing 30,000 lbs while it hangs in the air (among many other things) is anything but easy. It takes talent, planning, and attention to detail. They have recently set a BrightBuilt Drisko, Perkins, Cushing, and 2 Frenchboros. We thought we'd throw a few questions Ryan's way, so that you can get a taste for the team behind this part of the process.

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August 14, 2020

What's In A Number? Part III: The "Extras"

Today we complete our 3-part series on building costs – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. If you’ve been following along with our last few blog posts (or newsletters), you’ve glimpsed some clues to what’s hidden in the costs behind door number 1 (site) and door number 2 (house) already. To close out the series, we will explore what hides behind door number 3: the costs of those seemingly elusive “extras”…

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July 31, 2020

What's In A Number? Part I: Site Costs

Today we launch a 3-part series on building costs* – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. Without a doubt, one of the hardest questions to answer in the architecture and construction world is: “How much will it cost?” Invariably, and with good reason, the answer is: “It depends!”

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July 3, 2020

Building a BrightBuilt Home

Meet Colin Lindberg, builder of our most recent Jewell. He is owner of Shelterwood Construction, a general contractor out of Moretown, Vermont. He and his team completed this Jewell in 2018. Colin was gracious enough to answer our burning questions, and show off his fun-loving and hard working ethos, for all to enjoy.

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July 2, 2020

Office Space: A BrightBuilt homeowner talks about WFH in a BBH

WIth so many of us working from home these days, we wanted to reach out to some of our BrightBuilt Homeowners who have home offices, and see if they could share some snippets on their WFH experiences. Cristos and Emma completed their Mackworth in South Portland a few years ago, not long before welcoming the arrival of their adorable toddler. As he has been working from home during our current times, Cristos had some great insights on what it's been like for him.

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June 19, 2020

What's In a Number? Part II: The House

Today we continue our 3-part series on building costs – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. While we explored the mysteries of site costs in our last newsletter (and on our blog, read it here), this time we're diving into the good stuff: the house itself.

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June 17, 2020

5 Questions to Ask when selecting a builder for your high-performance Home

Building a new home is a big deal, and when you make such a major investment, you want to feel confident that the people performing the work are doing it right. As with any other types of products or services, builder quality can vary significantly, especially if you are building a high-performance home. How do you know if you’re choosing the right builder for your new home? Ask these important questions.

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May 22, 2020

From the Ground Up. Excited Homeowners Reflect on The Design Process and Look Forward to Moving In.

Our latest Little Diamond is coming together nicely, getting some final finishing touches (by the team at Island Carpentry) as it gets comfortable on its new site on the Kennebec River. The homeowners, Mike and Pattee, have been so excited to see their dream come together, so we asked if they might answer some questions, and share some reflections on their process to date (and perhaps a dose or two of that contagious, much-needed-right-now enthusiasm!).

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May 8, 2020

Ask the Expert | A Q&A on air exchange with a local expert

The air exchange system: The system in our homes that perhaps remains the biggest mystery to new homeowners. We throw the acronyms ERV and HRV around as though they're as universally understood as PB&J or LOL, but to many, the notion of active, pre-filtered fresh air exchange in your home is at odds with most homeowners' experience with the drafty New England farmhouse (which our homes, of course, are not). To help shed some light on what these systems are and what they do, we tapped local expert, Kurt Johnson, of Fresh Air Ventilation in Lewiston, Maine. He offers some great insights, tips, and clear explanations on these critical systems.

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April 24, 2020

How to Set up a Home Office You Didn’t Know You Had

It’s possible that working from home has been your modus operandi for some time now. Others may be recent converts because of our current world circumstances. Either way, we’ve collected a few ideas to make a home office productive and comfortable, and have some tips for how you may adapt it to a high-performance home.

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April 10, 2020

Clients and Project Coordinator look back on what makes for a great project

1.) Do you remember the moment that you decided you wanted a BrightBuilt home? What lead you to that decision? J&L: Joe knew early on that looking at energy efficient/green technologies in our next home was the way to go. Our millennial kids where pushing us to shrink our carbon footprint at the same time that we were looking to downsize. Every thing came together when we met with J.

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March 27, 2020

Design Feature: The Torrey

Bigger isn’t always better, and the Torrey is evidence to back that up. Maybe you are ready for downsizing into your forever home, aging next to your children, or putting up a small structure at your family camp. Whatever is it, we’ve got a Torrey for it. The Torrey shows you how it’s possible to live in a smaller footprint while still having the comfort and amenities you may have experienced in larger homes. Besides, it’s dang cute!

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March 12, 2020

The Cushy Cushin' - What's not to love.

For those of you from Maine, you might recognize Cushing as one of the islands off Portland in Casco Bay. Locals call it “Cushin’” which makes us think of “cushy,” which is an adjective that is defined as “undemanding, easy, or secure.” This is a perfect definition for the BrightBuilt Cushing. Narrower than our other designs at 24” wide, it manages to pack a big, precise punch. This house is great for narrow lots and if you are looking for first floor living, but with additional space to spread out when needed. The Cushing accurately replicates a farmhouse with a full second story. As designed, it is an incredibly efficient and comfortable space. Size: 1,975 sq ft Bedrooms: 3+ Bathrooms: 2.5

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January 31, 2020

Spotlight on the Director: A quick convo with she who shall not be named...

...Just kidding. Her name is Parlin Meyer, and she's been part of the BrightBuilt squad since back when the origin story was still being written. Our office-everything-extraordinaire, Rachel, took a few minutes to sit down with Parlin for a fun and informal Q&A.

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January 3, 2020

Breathe In | Breathe Out

High-performance homes are not only energy efficient, they also allow for "rooms to breathe" When someone says “air pollution,” is the picture that comes to mind cars spewing exhaust? Maybe smoke billowing out of a factory? Or is it smog hanging above a city? In all of these scenarios, the air pollution is outside, but recently more research has been done to understand what air pollution looks like inside. And it doesn’t look good.

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May 17, 2019

The Top 3 Financial Incentives For You to Build Green Now

For many homeowners, the decision whether to build a high-performance home is a financial one. If you have to make the decision between installing solar panels or getting a few more of the amenities on your wish list, it can be a difficult choice to make. However, if you look at your home as the long-term investment that it is, building green just makes sense.

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April 5, 2019

Features from our Latest Photo Shoot

We've been having some fun with drone photography lately, and are gaining an entirely new perspective on our designs and net-zero in general. We thought it would be fun to share some of these recent bird's eye views (and of course some pretty shots of the interiors, too!).

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March 15, 2019

Ask BrightBuilt

This week's question was fielded by our founder, principal, and architect extraordinaire, Phil Kaplan... "I sell new construction, and am seeing homes that are steeply increasing in price due to rising costs in materials. Since BrightBuilt is made in a controlled environment, does this help offset some of these increases?" -B. Morrison, New Hampshire

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February 1, 2019

New Year, New Designs

We're celebrating the new year by delivering you new designs! First up, we've converted one of our custom designs into a standard offering... Meet the new kid on the block, the Modern Farmhouse.

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January 4, 2019

A BrightBuilt Home for (Almost) Every Apocalypse

Though we live in an increasingly polarized society, one of the few things that we can all agree on is that the world is becoming more and more perilous, our prospects are unsteady, and the future is impossible to predict. Between the real or imagined threats of climate change, nuclear war, and zombies, it’s sometimes difficult to see past the parade of horrifying news stories, devastating storms, and overzealous Second Coming preachers that batter us with their end-of- days prophecies. We don’t have to agree on how or when the world will end, but let’s be honest – we’re all wondering how we’ll get through it.

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April 1, 2018

5 Reasons to Consider An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on Your Property

A lot has been written lately about the rise of intergenerational households. In this country it is commonly presented as a growing problem, as it is caused at least in part by reduced retirement security and adult children who wait longer to leave the nest than in the past. As much of the rest of the world has demonstrated, however, there are plenty of reasons why it makes good sense to combine households. If you are in a position to join households with your in-laws, you will likely find that everyone benefits from the arrangement.

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March 16, 2018

Tips to avoid a holiday hosting fiasco - Your BrightBuilt home has your back!

The holidays are upon us, and this week’s centers around food. And family! (But mostly food.) If you are living in a BrightBuilt Home chances are everyone thinks it is super beautiful and so began dropping very subtle hints months ago about how “It would be so lovely to have Thanksgiving in the extra warm and sunny house this year” and “I suppose if we do it at my house again, I’ll have to make everyone sit in the cellar since our dining room isn’t open concept…” Fast forward to Thanksgiving week and you’re starting to figure out how the heck to graciously host 15 people in your home. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of BrightBuilt Home features that ensures last-minute horrors won't happen. (We all remember the disaster of ’04 when Aunt Helen’s cocker spaniels ate the turkey right out of the oven…)

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Custom design in the BrightBuilt world

When you walk down the baking aisle at your local grocer, it can feel like a “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Maybe you love having freshly baked scones, but the last time you tried to make them from scratch, you put in salt when it should have been sugar. Good news for you, there are plenty of pre-mixed recipes that can get you started, if baking from scratch turns out to not really be your forte. You can, after all, still make them yours. Want them to be hot pink? You can do that! Maybe you’d like to use sustainably harvested, organic sugar? That’s an option! Or perhaps your grandmother’s lemon glaze can’t be beat and you’d like to incorporate that into the recipe. You can always put your own spin on the base, and you can rest easy knowing that the pre-mixed ingredients are a perfect blend to get you started.

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Custom Living takes Zero Energy

Every so often, we like to check in with homeowners with whom we’ve worked. Tim and Kathryn were wonderful collaborators, and we’re delighted to share some of their insights into the process of designing a BrightBuilt Home, and their thoughts about living in the custom spaces they worked with us to create. As veterans of the “building a new home” realm, they also offered some helpful perspectives on the process of new construction in general. Read on to see what they had to say!

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The Great Diamond: The coastal, iconic barn

The Great Diamond, with a 28x32’ footprint, is designed to fit on a small lot without sacrificing interior space. Reminiscent of Maine’s iconic barns, the Great Diamond blends comfortable spaces with an efficient form. Size: 1,800 – 2,400 square feet Bedrooms: 3 - 5 Bathrooms: 2.5 – 3.5 Number of finished floors: 2-4

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Five Years Spent in the Future: A laidback interview with BrightBuilt Dwellers

Marian and Alex Starkey live in a BrightBuilt Great Diamond, finished in 2015. We checked in with them to see how life is going in their now-not-quite-so-new home! Read on to hear about their animals, paint colors, advice they have for the building process, and more.

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BrightBuilt Home Open House In Knox, Maine

This particular home is a custom cape, not too dissimilar from our Drisko or Frenchboro designs, and full of hand-crafted interior finishwork and historically accurate details (for the era that it evokes, that is!). Paired with BrightBuilt Home's high-performance systems, this home is the perfect marriage of past and future.

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Searching for the Right Site? Class is in Session!

How to choose a site for your high-performance home: 101 Welcome to your first day at BrightBuilt Academy! We’re so glad you are here learning with us. Today’s lesson is going to be about how to choose a new site for your BrightBuilt home.

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